Tuesday, October 22, 2013

South Loop: Chicago's Original Hipster Haven?

Hipster Migration map (via Chicago Reader)
Love it or hate it, the "hipster" seems to be on everyones lips these days.  Typically the Sloop isn't associated with the term (unless you're talking about students from Columbia), but we recently read an interesting article on Chicagoreader.com about Chicago's hipster migration history.

We were surprised to see them list the "South Loop" as the original hipster haven.  However, back in the early 1900s, the term didn't exist - they were called "Artists".

Anyway, here is what the article has to say about their contribution to society and where they hung out:
MAJOR EXPORTS: Painting, sculpture, writing, and cultural uplift. Even then, Chicagoans were distressed about not being as cool as New Yorkers. When Harriet Monroe, future editor of Poetry magazine, wrote an ode to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, it sold so few copies that she ended up using the surplus to fuel her bedroom stove. This setback made her and her confederates determined to improve literary and artistic culture in Chicago. 
CHIEF HANGOUT: First the Auditorium Hotel, then the Fine Arts Building, after its conversion from a factory and showroom for Studebaker carriages into the 19th-century version of an arts incubator. The Little Room took its name from a short story by Madeline Wynne, one of its members, about a room that disappears and reappears in different locations. Its most successful and long-lasting incarnation was painter Ralph Clarkson's studio. In later years, it calcified into a formal social club, decidedly nonhipster.
The article goes on to show the migration of the "hipster" through the years to its current neighborhood of choice, Logan Square.  It even attempts to show the future of the group, which may be our neighbor in Pilsen.

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